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Acupuncture Point Topography in the Horse

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Chinese texts describe some 130 acupuncture points on the horse, but fail to identify the "master points" and their locations. This lack of clearness was the reason for a more precise examination of the acupuncture points and their location on the horse, especially those found on the limbs. Three different point detectors were used to measure the electrical skin resistance, revealing similar acupuncture points on a healthy Thoroughbred mare. This locating technique was later reproduced on healthy German Warm blood horses, resulting in the same acupuncture point topography. Points are electrically dynamic and accessible for detection and characterization.
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Anm. der Verfasserin:
Beim diesem Artikel handelt es sich um den ersten aus Deutschland stammenden Veterinär-
Akupunktur-Artikel. Der Inhalt ist inzwischen durch Erkenntnisse und Forschungen von Dr. med.
vet. Draehmpaehl überholt. Erschienen im ’American Journal Of Acupuncture’, Vol. 4, Nr. 3,
1976.
VETERINARY SCIENCE
Acupuncture Point Topography in the Horse
Christiane P. Krueger, D. V. M.
Tannenstrasse 6, D 8431 Freystadt/Opf., West Germany
Abstract: Chinese texts describe some 130 acu-
same location on the human body as point
puncture points on the horse, but fail to identify
Hsi Yang Kuan (GB-33). Another confusing
the "master points" and their locations. This lack
example for the conscientious veterinarian
of clearness was the reason for a more precise
examination of the acupuncture points and their
are the very important "associated" points
location on the horse, especially those found on
(Shu points) of the Bladder meridian. In man
the limbs. Three different point detectors were
they are located on the first circuit of the
used to measure the electrical skin resistance,
Bladder meridian. In the horse, according to
revealing similar acupuncture points on a healthy
the Chinese charts, they are all mixed up with
Thoroughbred mare. This locating technique was
later reproduced on healthy German Warmblood
the points of the second circuit of the Bladder
horses, resulting in the same acupuncture point
meridian.
topography. Points are electrically dynamic and
accessible for detection and characterization.
Material and Methods
This confusion was the main reason for our
.CACH VETERINARIAN who wishes to prac-
examination of the acupuncture points and
tice acupuncture on animals, must first study
their location on the horse, especially those
the basis of acupuncture in man, and then by
located on the limbs. To accomplish this,
comparative anatomy apply it to animals
three different acupuncture point detectors
with the same degree of skill. This is especi-
were used (1. Kutosens-10, 2. Neuralstab, 3.
ally challenging in the case of the horse.
Punctoscope Sedat) to measure the elec-
The Chinese gave a description of 130 acu-
trical skin resistance. All three detectors
puncture points and their locations, but they
revealed the same acupuncture points, which
did not mention points of stimulation, seda-
were reproducible at any time. This technique
tion, source, connecting, or alarm points.
for locating the points was first used on a
Furthermore, most points have new names,
sound, healthy Thoroughbred mare, and later
and some points like those named in man,
identified on healthy German Warmblood
are located in other body areas. For example,
horses.
the Tsu San Li (St-36) point on the horse is
To begin with, our experiments showed an
shown in the same place as the Yang Ling
amazing number of acupuncture points on
the fore and hind legs, with reduced electrical
Chuan (GB-34) on the human body. The
skin resistance. These low skin resistance
Yang Ling Chuan point in the horse is in the
areas were confluent, with the confluent areas
located over nerves or nerve endings, co-
Original article translated from the German by
inciding with meridian-like lines that were
H. Grady Young, D.V.M., International Veteri-
identified. On the fore limb these lines corre-
nary Acupuncture Society, P.O. Box 958, Tho-
sponded with the median nerve relating to
masville, Georgia 31792.
276
Am. J. Acupuncture, Vol. 4, No. 3, July-September 1976

FIG. 1. Meridians of Large Intestine, Triple
FIG. 2. Various acupuncture points on
Heater, and Small Intestine, shown on the
the fore limb. Three different point
fore limb of the horse.
detector models were used for verification
of points.
FIG. 3. Topography of the Heart Constrictor
FIG. 4. Electrical skin resistance measurements
(Pericardium), Heart, and Lung meridians
established many acupuncture points on the
shown on the fore limb of the horse.
fore limb of the horse, as illustrated above.
Am. J. Acupuncture, Vol. 4, No. 3, July-September 1976
277

FIG. 5. Shown is the topography of the Gall
FIG. 6. Close-up view establishing the
Bladder and Stomach meridians on the hind
location of the important points St-36 and
limb of the horse.
Gb-34 on the hind limb of the horse.
FIG. 7. Junction of the Spleen, Liver, and Kid-
FIG. 8. Large number of acupuncture points
ney meridians at point Sp-6, as determined
were found on the medial side of the hind
by multiple skin resistance measurements.
limb. The point Spleen 6 is emphasized here.
278
Am. J. Acupuncture, Vol. 4, No. 3, July-September 1976

the Pericardium meridian (HC), and the ulnar
a horse. Following the idea of homologous
nerve matching those points on the Small
reasoning, let us take for example, the Ho Ku
Intestine meridian (Si), and Heart meridian
(Li-4) point:
(H). The musculocutaneous nerve matches
In man there is —
the Lung meridian (Lu), and the two branches
1. A space between the metacarpal bones
of the radial nerve correspond to the Large
I and II.
Intestine meridian (Li), and the Triple Heater
2. The radialis nerve supplies the anatomi
meridian (TH).
cal skin region, and
It was noted that when the electrical resist-
3. The muscle region of the interosseus
ance of the point finder was raised one step, it
muscle (ulnaris n.).
was possible to locate the small branches of
these nerves. This proved especially true with
This anatomical background does not exist
the nerve branchings distal to the fetlock
in the horse, so the Ho Ku point (Li-4) cannot
joints.
be reconstructed in this way. Whereas, the
On the hind limbs the lines followed the
Chung Chung (HC-9) point does exist on the
course of the ischiadicus nerve and the cutan-
medial bulb of the heel, for the metacarpal III
eous surea plantar (Bl), and distal to the stifle
and its phalanges represent the middle finger
they followed the fibularis superficial nerve
of man completely, including the nerve.
(GB), and the fibularis deep nerve (St), and
In the case of the horse it is less difficult to
the path of the tibialis nerve and saphenous
start at the proximal end of the carpal joint,
veins.
and identify the homologous points of HC-4-
If the resistance of the point detector was
7, TH-5-9, Si-6-8, and H-4-7. The Heart me-
diminished, these lines were no longer found,
ridian joins the Heart Constrictor meridian
but the acupuncture points were identifiable
(HC) in the carpal region. Agreement can also
at separate distinct points. These included all
be found in Li-5-12, and Lu-6-8, between man
those points described by the Chinese, as well
and horse; however, the skin innervation is
as a great many additional points. Many of
not homologous, but only analogous.
these points are clearly related to nerve
Discussion
branchings and crossings.
Upon examining the pictures (Figs. 2 and 4)
To locate those acupuncture points that
of the fore limbs, our first impression will be
correspond to man and horse, the anatomical
that the meridians of the horse include more
position of each point on the horse must be
points than the same meridians in man. This
identified by comparative anatomy. This
may be another hint pointing to analogism,
means that a detailed knowledge of the der-
because it is well known that the meridians
matomes, myotomes and skeletomes is re-
in man contain many additional points be-
quired, but to date these structures are not
tween the classic numbered main points.
yet known in the horse. In such a case, other
It was also found that on the hind limbs on
parameters must be taken into account, as for
the lines with reduced resistance distal to the
instance skin innervation, topography of
stifle, that there were "maximum points"
muscles, and muscle innervation, while con-
just as on the fore limbs. For instance, points
sidering segmental phylogenesis. Only if there
on the Stomach meridian followed the same
is a correspondence of these criteria can we
structures in the horse as in man. For ex-
postulate that these are homologous acu-
ample:
puncture points in man and horse. At least
1. The deep fibularis nerve.
the use of these homologous points in the
2. The tibialis anterior muscle, and the
therapy will reveal whether or not there is the
long digital extensor, and
same action or effect.
3. The skin region of the saphenous veins.
An excellent example for these problems is
The points of the Gall Bladder meridian
the situation below the carpus and tarsus of
correlate to:
Am. J. Acupuncture, Vol. 4, No. 3, July-September 1976
279

1. The superficial nerve.
could definitely be determined by skin re-
2. The extensor digital lateralis muscle
sistance measurements, obviously has no
(which is the analogous structure to
neural correspondence (Fig. 7). In man, it is
the peroneous muscle in man, because
a known fact that only two thirds of all acu-
the fibula of the horse is a rudimen
puncture points correspond to nerve points.
tary bone), and
This means that 66% of the acupuncture
3. The skin innervation area of the fibular-
points are based on "reflexology" (according
is nerve.
to Dr. J. Bischko of Vienna).
Following these facts it appears that there
On the neck and rump the situation shows
is no evidence for any difference in man and
a different picture. Here the meridian points
in the horse concerning the Tsu San Li (St-36)
jump from one segment to the next, like the
point, and the Yang Ling Chuan (GB-34)
To Mo (GV), Jen Mo (CG), and the Bladder
point. Needless to say that the exact detection
meridian, whereas on the limbs the meridian
and treatment of these two points is of funda-
points below the elbow and stifle stay within
mental value for our acupuncture therapy.
one or two segments. That seems to be the ex-
The only exception to all previously men-
planation for the restricted validity of the
tioned correlations between acupuncture
neural theory concerning the acupuncture
points and nerves in the horse was found on
meridians.
the medial side of the hind limb. For instance,
In any case, our recent results in acupunc-
the crossing of the Liver, Spleen and Kidney
ture topography indicate the existence of a
meridians at San Yin Chiao (Sp-6), which
continuous meridian flow.
280
Am. J. Acupuncture, Vol. 4, No. 3, July-September 1976

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